The Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee on Wednesday decided to send a report to the party high command seeking appropriate action against member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor, who invited his colleagues' ire after he accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's invitation to join his Swachh Bharat campaign.
Tharoor had recently accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's initiative to join the Clean India campaign but he has clarified more than once that it did not mean he was endorsing the Bharatiya Janata Party's policies.
The Kerala unit of the Congress party said the Tharoor's "constant adulation" of Modi has deeply hurt party workers. To put more pressure on him Kerala Students' Union (KSU), the student wing of the Congress, has asked Tharoor to quit his MP post.
"There were repeated instances of Tharoor appreciating the PM. He has hurt the sentiments of party workers who really toiled to ensure his second term. We will wait for the high command's decision," said PCC chief V M Sudheeran after consultation with senior leaders and chief minister Oommen Chandy.
He said the state unit favoured an appropriate step to ensure that such actions would not be repeated.
In the meeting many leaders sought action against Tharoor but since he's an All India Congress Committee spokesperson the state unit has decided to lob the ball into the central leadership's court.
The decision came a day after the party mouthpiece Veekshanam hit out against Tharoor saying such fortune-hunters should be thrown out if they could not correct themselves.
Without naming Tharoor, it compared such leaders to "Siberian migratory birds which come looking for ideal climate."
Many leaders have come out in the open seeking action against the former Union minister.
"His views are against the party's secular agenda. Despite repeated warnings, he has been praising Modi again and again. It is better for Tharoor to quit," said KSU president VS Joy.
What really angered party leaders was the fact that unlike actor Kamal Hasan, who reacted immediately after Modi's invitation saying cleaning was not a PR exercise and he has been doing it throughout his life, Tharoor had accepted Modi's invitation without any second thought and later tweeted saying he was really honoured.
Many party workers also feel that he was being dragged into unnecessary controversies because he never toed group politics.
"He's not a born politician. Many senior leaders do not like his style and mannerism. Many here still feel that he has not committed a big mistake. It is sad senior leaders are encouraging all and sundry to turn against him," said a party district functionary.
Tharoor, on his part, wrote on his Facebook page that Mahatma Gandhi stood for not only physical cleanliness but also for cleanliness of mind, heart, soul, spirit.
"I therefore urge @PMOIndia to also work for an India cleansed of bigotry, hatred, intolerance & divisiveness, an India that is truly clean," he said.
Tharoor had told NDTV on Tuesday that he was being targeted because he is an outsider.
"Nobody understands when somebody is trying to express a complex set of ideas," he said.
He also said that he has been seen by some as a "foreign object in the body politic".
"And perhaps there is a difficulty in digesting who I am and how I conduct myself," he reportedly told NDTV.
After the row erupted over the Clean India mission, Tharoor, an MP from Thiruvananthapuram and a former Union minister, had tweeted that he is "a proud Congressman and a proud Indian. In short: not pro-BJP, just pro-India!"